Shriners Chicago Hospital Story
Bringing Meaning to the Statement, "No Request for Help is Foreign to the Society."
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul received an Email from an employee at Shriners Hospital in San Antonio, Texas, stating that he used to be a Vincentian. He was seeking help with food, lodging & transportation for a child and her mother who would be traveling from Mexico to Chicago Shriners hospital for medical treatments. The hospital was able to provide airfare and medical treatments only. The family is very poor & did not have the means to secure the other accommodations on their own. Because they did not speak any English and due to the very tight itinerary from arrival time, to appointments, to return flight, all needing to take place within 17 hours including time to get across town to Midway airport we would need very special help.
This is not the typical work of the Society of St Vincent de Paul. We are not equipped to handle this type of request. As always, we found our strength in our reliance on the Holy Spirit. We needed him to intervene and find a suitable host. We had tried various religious communities and churches near the airport and near the hospital. We tried to set up hotels, shuttles, cabs and fast food gift cards. Nothing seemed to work. Remembering to surrender & pray, finally a parishioner family of one of our Vincentians came to mind. Rocio is between jobs, her husband is a busy medical doctor and their young son attends school at Holy Name Cathedral. They speak Spanish and English fluently. Having medical backgrounds Rocio took notes & translated from the various medical appointments also making sure to keep things moving along. The appointments all had to be completed between 8 am and 11:30 am to allow ample time to make the return flight home.
What made this Vincentian help extraordinary was the work of the Holy Spirit choosing this perfect host family to pair with these perfect strangers. During the 17 hour visit the little girl and her mom made new friends in Chicago. They had hosts with insight to make this more of a healing pilgrimage. They took the scenic route home instead of the fastest route from midway to the northwest side of the city. Stopping at 10 pm near the Adler Planetarium to take a photo against the beautiful Chicago night lighted skyline. They ate Chicago style pizza before heading to comfortable beds in a private home where people spoke their language and knew their culture. Breakfast was served early and the 4 or more doctor appointments were kept on time with thoughtful notations taken and passed along to assure communication accuracy. A bite to eat on the way back to the airport and they were gone as quickly as they had arrived. Loving care and consideration were given to strangers as though they were Christ himself visiting for the night.
To Rocio and her family these strangers were Christ. To the travelers, Rocio and her family was Christ. How often does Christ enter our lives for a brief few hours and we don't even realize that He was there? How blessed to experience Him in such a pure and simple loving way. Don't miss your opportunity to visit with Christ.